Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

A Pre-Fire Lighting Checklist: Get it Right Before You Ignite!

Following a simple checklist will ensure that the first use of your fireplace this season does not ignite more than you intend:

Match Lighting a Fire Safely - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney

  • Have your chimney professionally inspected.
  • Open the glass doors of your fireplace 30 minutes ahead of time.
  • Make sure your damper is open.
  • Clear the area around the fireplace of newspapers and other combustible materials.
  • Check the draft of your chimney with a match.

The first of these is obviously the most important, as it means assurance from a professional that your chimney is clean and in good working order. Until it is, a fire simply cannot be started, as it threatens not only further damage but your health and safety as well. Once your chimney has been certified to be good to go, you can begin your pre-fire check.

Opening the glass doors of your fireplace for thirty minutes before lighting the fire will give it a chance to reach room temperature. Cold air is heavier than hot air, so it sinks down the chimney from outside and gets trapped behind the doors. Opening them will allow the warmer air from the house into the fireplace and begin the movement of air up the chimney.

At one time or another, most homeowners and even apartment dwellers have watched their living room fill with smoke. In all likelihood, this is because they failed to check the damper before starting the fire and the smoke had no access to the chimney. Unless your damper has been permanently fixed in an open position, it should be checked every time you light a fire.

The area around the fireplace is not a good place to stack magazines and newspapers waiting to be clipped or recycled. Embers flying out of wood burning fireplaces seem to seek these out, and they provide fast igniting fuel. Unless a house fire is on your bucket list, paper, cardboard, and highly flammable materials should be stored elsewhere, preferably out of the house.

Finally, you should check the draft of your chimney before starting the fire. Light a match and hold it beneath the flue, watching to see in which direction the smoke travels. If it is coming down and back towards you, something may be obstructing the chimney, with small animals not timing their nest-building to avoid inspections. If the chimney is clear, the draft may just need a little help from a fire starting brick.

By Jim Robinson on February 11th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment